The upcoming film from directors Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski is extremely ambitious. The film adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas crisscrosses through six separate storylines spanning over 1,000 years along multiple narrative genres. When the final version of Cloud Atlas is screened for general audiences for the first time at the Toronto International Film Festival, it will either sink or swim, but early buzz from the film’s test screening suggests that it may just be the latter as the Oscar buzz for the film starts.
There was a test screening of Cloud Atlas in California, during the film’s sneak peak at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Please keep in mind; a complete version of Cloud Atlas was not screened at either event. The filmmakers were simply gauging the film through audience reactions.
The special effects, costumes and visual makeup have to work together to make Cloud Atlas successfully believable. What can be gathered from the 6-minute trailer is the world and visuals of Cloud Atlas are superb, and some say the film is Academy Award worthy. Some who attended the test screenings have suggested “The makeup and costumes will absolutely be nominated for Oscars while visual effects have a great chance as well because of how subtle and artistically done they are.”
Since the film spans over many generations, the actors for the movie had to play multiple roles that cross gender and racial lines. The most notable being Halle Berry playing a white woman from the early 1900s, Zhu Zhu as a Mexican housemaid and Hugh Grant playing an Asian man.
According to early test screening reactions, this bit of cinematic trickery works, for the most part, but left some “taken out of the movie when one of these familiar faces popped up in an ill suited racial guise. The makeup was as good as the Hollywood pros could make it,” while others felt that it was “definitely a bit odd to see it on screen but with the help of some truly phenomenal makeup work and great performances by the actors, the portrayals go from funny to believable pretty quickly.”
As it appears, Cloud Atlas needs more editing, as the test-screening version of Cloud Atlas ran for well over three hours. As a ScreenRant.com commenter who attended the test screening mentioned:
“The movie was over 3 hours and it did tend to drag a little. There were 5 different stories going at once so it was a little confusing for the first hour. The editing needs to be reworked. Once that is done then that movie will be amazing.”
The world of Cloud Atlas is something general audiences have never seen before on the big screen. All of the promotional materials and images of the movie released make Cloud Atlas look like a sumptuous and luxurious moviegoing experience.
Cloud Atlas will open on October 26th.